“I Don’t Wanna!!”

Envision a child who is having a tantrum. They do not want to do what their parent is asking. You watch them stomp their foot, they might pout, they might drop to the floor, and they will say, “I don’t wanna .” As parents, we might become exasperated and frustrated. We might smile and tell them it is for the best or try to bribe them. Change is in the air. In a few weeks, school is starting. We teach and expect children to cope with the changes. Some of the tactics we use are encouragement and positivity. We try to share excitement about a new teacher, a new school, new friends, and seeing old friends trying to have them push their fears away.

How do we go from encouraging children to face fear and push through Change when as adults, we often resist Change in our lives, especially in our jobs? As adults, we may not stomp our feet (okay, some might), but we can be just as resistant to change.

The Chamber is preparing to launch a new Youth Leadership Program called “Leadership Jerome .” Working with High School Juniors and Seniors, we will read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. The first Habit that Covey teaches is “Be Proactive.”

Being proactive is not being resistant to change. Last week we discussed how the one thing that kills businesses and organizations is the phrase “we have always done it this way” or “I just want things to go back to the way they used to be.” Change is difficult. We cannot escape Change. Sometimes changes are exciting, it could be a new job or a family change like marriage or the birth of a child. Other times Change is scary.

According to Covey, the way to be proactive and successful in handling Change is that we choose our response. The word responsibility indicates that we have the “ability” to choose.

Traits of a proactive person:

  • Do not blame circumstances or conditions on others.
  • Value-driven.
  • Take the initiative.
    • According to Covey, taking the initiative does not mean being pushy, obnoxious, or aggressive. It does mean recognizing our responsibility to make things happen.
  • Is a happy person.
    • A proactive person is happy and recognizes that happiness is a choice.
  • Keep Commitments.

In a Forbes.com article about coping with Change in the workplace, we are told that today’s career professions are no longer well-defined within companies. As a result, there is no clear path to climb the corporate ladder. Therefore, keeping commitments is the best way to be recognized as dependable and to advance your career.

Five tips for dealing with Change at work and in life.

  1. Help others 
    1. The more that we look outside of ourselves and help others, the easier it is to handle stress and cope with Change.
  2. Embrace new opportunities.
    1. Add new skills. There are opportunities all around to learn new skills. For example, early in my career, I became interested in Desktop Publishing. I learned the software, asked questions, and practiced. Later on, I took an interest in web design. Using online tutorials, I practiced HTML and JavaScript coding. You are never too old to learn, do not be afraid to ask others to share their knowledge with you. You never know where that additional skill set will lead you.
  3. Maintain Relationships.
    1. Change is stressful. Make an effort to stay contacted and continue to add to your network.
  4. Accept rather than resist.
    1. According to the Forbes article, there are two ways of coping. Escape coping and active coping. Escape coping is avoiding thinking and feeling about the Change. Active coping is tackling the problem head-on taking the steps towards managing Change.
  5. Overcommunicate
    1. Effectively communicating your concerns to co-workers and managers within the organization will help you alleviate anxiety.

Change is here to stay. Change can be disruptive and uncomfortable, but with the right attitude, you can find opportunities in every situation.

By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director/CEO, MBA